Sales leads are the lifeblood of sales. But what qualifies a contact as a lead? If you’re buying a list of names or prioritizing a list you already have, you’ll want to check them against a minimum set of criteria. Then, analyze what characteristics your buyers have in common and use this information to create your list.
Perhaps your customers share company traits such as a certain business size or type of industry. Or perhaps the traits they share have to do with people, such as a certain job title. Traits could even be related to situations like expanding into other countries or obtaining a new round of funding.
Most likely, you’ll discover that your buyers share a combination of traits. Once you have a clear understanding of the type of prospect that converts most often to a buyer, it’s possible to use sales leads companies to find lists of contacts and companies to call on.
Several sales leads companies provide databases from which you can search for contacts based on your criteria. These companies compile their databases using different approaches. Some like Netprospex, Jigsaw, and GetBizLeads offer databases built with user-contributed data. ZoomInfo uses sophisticated technology to search the Web for contacts and still others like ReadyContacts conduct primary research (dialing companies directly).
Netprospex members contribute contact data from their own lists. In return, they are entitled to receive an equal number of contacts.
The more leads you contribute, the more new leads you get back. You can bank your credits and use them as you need. If you run out of credits, you can purchase contacts for 50 cents each. The pricing is easy to understand — and that’s one of the reasons I like NetProspex. Each lead comes with name, job title, company, address, phone number and e-mail. You can organize your contacts within their system and you can easily export them to your CRM tool or address book.
No need to worry whether the information is correct. For one, the search results screen shows when the lead was validated and the probability of accuracy. But there’s an even better reason why you don’t have to worry: They guarantee the accuracy. Here’s how it works: If you discover that any contact’s details are incorrect you can turn it back in for a new contact.
You shouldn’t have to do that very often as all data undergoes what they call “enterprise quality validation” and is verified and double-checked before it enters their database. I’ve found Netprospex’s service to be extremely reliable and easy to use.
Jigsaw, a great source of free company profile information, uses a points system for buying contact information. When you contribute a contact’s full details, you earn 5 points – enough to buy one contact. You can also earn 5 points each if you do one of the following:
- Add a company
- Clarify a vague title
- Add a direct phone number
- Update contact information
- Update company information
If you don’t wish to contribute contacts, you can purchase points instead for $1 each. Contacts cost 5 points, so purchasing a contact will cost you $5. You can lower your overall price if you subscribe to the premium package, a monthly subscription that costs $25/month. With your subscription, you get 25 points each month (enough for 5 leads) and each contact after that is only $1 as long as you continue to subscribe.
Any and all company data can be accessed at no cost although you do have to register. You can search for companies by country, state, metro area, zip code, area code, industry, number of employees, revenue and ownership (private, public). This data may be viewed online or downloaded.
Once you get your company list, you may click on it to discover their subsidiaries, a description of their business, and what contacts are available to purchase via Jigsaw. You can even click on the news button to learn of recent news and press releases.
GetBizLeads by MyWay Interactive is strictly a lead exchange network that is completely free and has a novel approach. You upload your contacts into the system just like Jigsaw and Netprospex. From there, others are able to view title, company and location information to decide whether it’s a contact they want. If they do, they send a request to you, although your identity is never disclosed. Only your title, state and country are visible. You can approve the request and if desired get a contact from their database in exchange. Of course you don’t want to be giving leads to your competitors.
To prevent that, you can set your trade preferences to “never trade to these companies” or “only trade to these companies” Another novel feature: The integration of news and Twitter. Each contact profile contains a button for news and Twitter. This means you’re one click away from viewing company news and the contact’s recent Tweets. It’s a handy way to gain insight.
I particularly like this system if you’re in an industry that’s complementary to and non-competitive with other businesses with whom you sell to the same types of people and companies. Someone who sells business insurance to CFOs could be a great contact trading partner for someone who sells employee compensation management to CFOs. In this example, it could make a lot of sense to share leads and information with each other. Again, there is no need to disclose your identities unless you choose to.
Ever search the Web looking for just the right contact at a certain company? Sometimes you get lucky and find the information quickly. Sometimes it could take you an hour or more, and other times you may come up empty. How much time do you give it before you abandon the search altogether? Sure, searching the Web on your own is not a bad use of time if you find the information right away. If you don’t, it’s one of the biggest 215 killers there is.
ZoomInfo knows that the Web is a vast and rich source of information about contacts and companies. It found a way to mine for that information using advanced technologies. ZoomInfo’s semantic search technology gathers publicly available information from the business Web – millions of company websites, news feeds and other online sources – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then automatically compiles it into easy-to-search and easy-to-read profiles. According to company representatives, they add 20,000 new profiles every month.
ZoomInfo says it has the world’s most comprehensive source of business information with in-depth profiles on more than 45 million people at 5 million companies. With ZoomInfo you get:
- Advanced searching: Filter people and companies by geography, title, industry, company size and keyword.
- Fresh contact info: Get contact details – phone, e-mail and mailing address.
- Deep profiles: Gain in-depth insight on your prospects – their career history and educational background.
How much would you be willing to spend so your sales reps could easily find and connect with the right people at the right companies and close deals faster? ZoomInfo sells subscription packages starting at 60 cents per contact and also offers unlimited annual licenses.
Every time I get the chance, I advocate that executives invest in these tools for their reps. Hands down, it’s one of the best ways to protect your sales reps’ valuable selling time. In fact, I recommend making all of these available to your reps so they are sure to find just the right contact at the right time.
If your company sells to people that aren’t easy to find or that fit a very narrow or specific niche, you should consider hiring a firm to conduct primary research for you.
ReadyContacts is a service that builds customized lead databases. It identifies targeted accounts based on specific criteria and then finds role-based decision makers and influencers at those accounts. Since the lists are based on your criteria, you can feel confident that you’re reaching the right people. If your team uses Salesforce.com, you can easily request a contact or a profile with one click, through their Readycontacts for Salesforce add-in.
ReadyContacts’ pricing model is easy to understand. You pay per contact and/or per profile only. All deliverables come with 100% data accuracy guarantee so you know you’re getting what you’re paying for. The prices start at $10 per contact and $30 per profile.
Nancy Nardin founded Smart Selling Tools after a prestigious career in high-tech and IT market research sales. She is considered the leading expert on sales productivity tools.